Thermal conductivity of graphene under biaxial strain: an analysis of spectral phonon properties

KVS Dheeraj and SK Kannam and SP Sathian, NANOTECHNOLOGY, 31, 345703 (2020).

DOI: 10.1088/1361-6528/ab9042

Thermal transport in graphene is strongly influenced by strain. We investigate the influence of biaxial tensile strain on the thermal conductivity of zigzag and armchair graphene (AG and ZG) using non- equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations (NEMD). We observe that the thermal conductivity is significantly reduced under strain with a maximum reduction obtained at equi-biaxial strain. It is interesting to note that the high lateral to longitudinal strain ratios reduce the negative impact of strain on the thermal conductivity of AG and ZG. The in-plane acoustic modes are found to be the major heat carriers in unstrained graphene but are severely softened due to strain, and hence, their contribution to the conductivity drops down significantly. Strain alleviates the out-of-plane fluctuations in graphene and the group velocity of the out-of-plane acoustic mode (ZA) increases due to the linearisation of its dispersion relation. These factors result in the dominance of ZA mode in the thermal transport of strained graphene. Significant increase in the size dependence of the thermal conductivity of strained graphene is observed, which is attributed to the long- wavelength ZA phonons. The discrepancies between the results of BTE studies and NEMD are also discussed. This study suggests that biaxial strain can be an effective method to tune the thermal transport in graphene. Our findings can lead to better phonon engineering of graphene for various nanoscale applications.

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